The rule around these parts, I was told, is that you don't open up the hives until a warm day after St. Patrick's Day. But that doesn't mean I can't fret and hover, both of which I've been doing. On warmer days, I watch from nearby as the foragers take a journey here and there to scout it all out, as the worker bees carry the dead bees to the "door," as the guard bees stay on alert. One hive seems a bit weaker than the other - it has right from the beginning, and I worry about them a little bit (I never took honey from that hive). I don't worry a lot though, because these bees are strong and smart, of that I'm certain. Though I'd rather that they eat their own sweet store of goodness, I might add a candy board to that one, just to give them a little boost. Just in case they don't have enough of their own reserves. It may be close, but winter isn't over yet.
Even when it's easy, as this winter certainly has been, it is still long. Winters just are. I dare say that each and every being on this little homestead of ours is feeling the stretch of that length these days - from the chickens to the children. When will there be bugs to forage for again? When will we see grass? How much more frozen kale and winter squash can we tolerate? Another pot of soup? How many more games of Scrabble can we play? How much more patience can we summon for each other? For ourselves?
But then I remember - and I tell them too - that this is one of the very things I love about winter. At it's very end, it stretches us. It requires us to dig deep, to rely upon each other, and to have faith. For it is certain that the days are getting longer, the temperatures are climbing higher, the snow out there is melting, and there are seeds almost ready to be planted. On a walk outside this morning, I turned my face to the sun with closed eyes, and almost felt spring. Or imagined it, anyhow.
It's just a little bit longer now.